ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
83°
Mostly Sunny
H 91° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 91° L 75°
  • clear-day
    76°
    Morning
    Mostly Sunny. H 91° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 87° L 71°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National
Roe v. Wade faces challenges in several states. Here they are
Close

Roe v. Wade faces challenges in several states. Here they are

Roe v. Wade faces challenges in several states. Here they are
Photo Credit: (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline, dressed as handmaids, take part in a protest against HB314, the abortion ban bill, at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday April 17, 2019.

Roe v. Wade faces challenges in several states. Here they are

Alabama legislators on Tuesday passed the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the country, promising to jail for 99 years any doctor who performs the procedure.

>> Read more trending news

If signed into law by Alabama’s governor, the legislation, passed by the Alabama Senate on a 25-6 vote, will ban abortions within the state’s borders with some exceptions for the life of the mother.

>> Ohio law gets challenge: Federal lawsuit filed to challenge Ohio’s heartbeat abortion ban law signed by DeWine

There are no exceptions in the bill for someone who is pregnant because of rape or incest.

Alabama’s bill follows on the heels of other state legislation designed to curtail abortion. Just last week, Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp signed a so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill into law, making abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy illegal.

Legislators in Alabama have said the bill was specifically passed in order to trigger a court challenge that would land the argument about terminating a pregnancy once again before the U.S. Supreme Court. The goal, opponents of abortion say, is to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision making abortion legal in the United States.

Before Tuesday’s action by the Alabama legislature, four states had passed legislation restricting abortion since Jan. 1.

Here is a look at some of the legislation that has passed and what it could mean for the future of Roe v. Wade.

What does Roe v. Wade say?

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that a Texas state law that banned abortions was unconstitutional. The court ruled that under the ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, women had a fundamental "right to privacy" that allows pregnant women to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

The ruling went on to say that, in the court’s opinion, having an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy was no more dangerous than carrying a fetus to full term.
Justices William Rehnquist and Byron White voted against the ruling, the. The other seven judges, including Chief Justice Warren Burger, voted in favor of the ruling.

If Roe v. Wade set a precedent for future cases, how can the ruling be challenged?

First, let’s look at precedent. As a legal term, precedent means that decisions in certain cases establish a principle or rule for future courts to follow.

In the case of Roe v. Wade, opponents of abortion hope to alter or abolish Roe by having a state abortion law challenged in lower courts and ultimately end up being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

How would the hearing of an abortion rights case change Roe v. Wade? 

Those who oppose abortion feel the current makeup of the Supreme Court is the most favorable in decades for a chance to make changes to or overturn Roe. Of the nine justices, five are considered conservative and four liberal.

What’s the big deal about getting the Supreme Court to hear a case? Doesn’t the Supreme Court automatically hear cases appealed from lower courts?

No, the U.S. Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear. The court will hear only three types of cases – original jurisdiction cases, meaning a case brought by one state against another state or against the federal government; cases “affecting ambassadors or other public ministers and counsel; or, as in the abortion debate, cases that request a review of decisions of lower courts such as federal appellate or district courts.

Of those three types of cases, the court decides as a body which cases it will hear during a session.

What type of abortion legislation has the best chance to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court?

Alabama’s abortion legislation is the latest in a series of recent state laws aimed at restricting abortions or the services abortion clinics offer.

The legislation, which has become known as “heartbeat bills,” make abortion illegally if a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, generally at about six weeks.

Sponsors of the state bills, and many of the governors who have signed them, admit the goal of the legislation is to set up a Supreme Court showdown on abortion rights. 
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he knew his state’s heartbeat bill would be challenged, and that was its goal.

“Taking this action really is a kind of a time-honored tradition, the constitutional tradition of making a good faith argument for modification or reversal of existing legal precedents,” he said. “So that is what this is.”

In Alabama, Rep. Terri Collins, R, the sponsor of the Alabama legislation, said Tuesday, “This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection. I have prayed my way through this bill. This is the way we get where we want to get eventually.”

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Louisiana’s abortion law that would have resulted in one doctor in a single clinic in the state authorized to perform abortions.

On a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice John Roberts joining with the court’s four liberal justices, a temporary stay was ordered, but a final decision was not reached in the case. Supreme Court watchers believe it’s likely the justices will hear a challenge to the law in the next term.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh said they would have denied the stay, according to The New York Times.

Which states have heartbeat bills? What about other abortion restriction bills? 

Fetal heartbeat laws make abortion illegal after the time the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote in Alabama, six states – Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, Kentucky and Mississippi – have passed fetal heartbeat laws. Eleven other states are considering such legislation, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Legislation in four states has already run into legal challenges – North DakotaArkansasIowa, and Kentucky – and are currently blocked from going into effect. Mississippi’s ban is being challenged, and the Center for Reproductive Rights has asked a judge to stop the law from going into effect on July 1. 

Prior to Alabama’s action on Tuesday, four states had passed such laws since Jan. 1.
Legislation that includes other restrictions to abortions could make their way to the Supreme Court. An Indiana law would have banned abortions for fetal anomalies is one such law. In Missouri, a law requiring clinics that provide abortions to be set up as ambulatory surgical centers and doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals was struck down by a federal appeals court.

A Texas law that bans a method of abortion called dilation and evacuation, or D&E, was being challenged in court this past fall.

What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

Every state abortion ban set to go into effect has been blocked or delayed by lower courts, and abortion remains legal in the United States.

However, some see the day that Roe could be challenged or overturned.
If Roe is overturned, abortion in the United States would not necessarily be illegal. The decision on whether an abortion is legal would revert to the states.

In some states, bans on abortion have remained on the books. Other states have begun to introduce and pass “trigger laws,” or laws that would trigger a ban on abortion should Roe be overturned. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have such laws.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Florida's governor is ordering election officials to review the cybersecurity of the state's election systems. The request comes more than a week after he was briefed that Russia hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday ordered Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee to come up with a plan to identify and address vulnerabilities in the state's election system and the systems of Florida's 67 counties. DeSantis said last week that the hackers didn't manipulate any data and the election results weren't compromised. The governor said he signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties, but elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions.
  • It's a good idea to fill up on gas sooner rather than later if you have any travel plans for the holiday weekend. Patrick DeHaan is head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, and he says prices may go up over the next couple days or early next week.  'If you have a boat to fill or if you're hitting the road this weekend and your tank is on E, I certainly would go fill up that tank,' DeHaan says. 'Prices may go up here in the next 48 hours.'  He says gas prices in Jacksonville peaked at $2.78 a gallon on average on May 2, and now they've dropped over 20 cents a gallon to $2.56 on average.  The worry this weekend is something called 'price cycling,' DeHaan says. That's when prices make a big jump of 20 or 30 cents per gallon in one day, and then they start trickling down again over time.  'That is what I would expect, is that prices would go up quite a bit, but then they'll start coming back down for the weeks following,' DeHaan says.  As far as Memorial Day travelers, DeHaan says South Florida generally has higher gas prices than around here. So if you plan on driving in that direction it's a good idea to fill up here before you go and then wait until you're closer to home to fill back up again.  On the other side of the coin, if you plan on going through one of the other neighboring states it's a good idea to get gas there if you can. DeHaan says South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have some of the country's cheapest gasoline right now. Georgia is closer to the national average, but that's still probably going to be better than the high prices in Florida.  There’s some good news if you remember filling up your tank last year around this time.  'Even if prices do move up, it will be a cheaper Memorial Day weekend than what we saw last year when prices averaged about $2.84 a gallon,' DeHaan says.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families is working to suspend operations at a Westside preschool, after a baby girl was left in the facility’s van for five hours, and died. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool & Academy picks up some of their children, but this morning, an infant was left in a car seat in the back of the facility’s van. That was around 8 AM, and it wasn’t until around 1 PM that JSO says the baby was found unconscious and not breathing. She was taken to the hospital, but died. “Every day, parents entrust child care providers with their most precious gifts. Tragically, today a family has just been notified of the gut-wrenching loss of their precious baby girl,” says a statement from DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. Poppell says DCF has opened a joint child death and child care licensing investigation, as it also works with law enforcement. They have started the administrative process of getting an emergency suspension order to stop operations at the facility. DCF additionally says the preschool did not notify them that they were transporting children, so transportation standards were not being monitored. Some of those standards include maintaining a driver’s log of each child that includes verification that each has left the vehicle, conducting a physical inspection of the vehicle to ensure no child is left behind, and having a second staff member perform similar verifications. The most recent inspection of this preschool took place last month, and there were no violations, according to online records. Overall, since the preschool was licensed in 2016, they have not had any Class I violations- which are the most serious- two Class II violations, and 13 Class III violations. At this time, no arrests have been made in connection to the baby’s death today. JSO says they’re working with the State Attorney’s Office to determine what charges are appropriate in this case and if any charges will be filed.
  • John Walker Lindh, the American, who as a teenager, joined the Taliban in Afghanistan in the run-up to the 911 terror attacks, is scheduled to leave a federal prison in Indiana Thursday after serving 17 years on charges of providing support to the Islamic fundamentalist group. >> Read more trending news   Lindh, who is now 38, said he converted to Islam after seeing the film “Malcolm X as a teenager. He left the United States to go to Yemen to study Arabic and the Quran. Then when he was 21 he traveled to Pakistan to join the Taliban. He was with the group on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers flew planes into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a crashed a fourth plane into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A little more than two months after the attacks, Lindh was captured when the United States attacked Afghanistan after the country’s leaders refused to turn over 911 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Lindh was taken to the Qala-i-Jangi fortress which was being used as a prison for captured Taliban soldiers. While there, he was interrogated by American intelligence officers. A violent uprising by the prisoners at Qala-i-Jangi on Nov. 25, 2001, resulted in the death of CIA officer Micheal Spann along with more than 400 Taliban soldiers and supporters. Spann’s family opposes Lindh’s scheduled release. Lindh is said to have known of the planned uprising at Qala-i-jangi, though he did not directly take part in the attack. Neither did he let American interrogators know about the planned uprising, according to American prosecutors. Here are seven things to know about Lindh before he is released: Lindh went by the name Sulayman al-Faris during his time in Afghanistan. He became known as the “American Taliban” after his capture in 2001. Lindh was the first American detainee to be brought to the United States for trial on during the War on Terror. He was first charged with conspiring with al-Qaeda, but was not charged with Spann’s death. He was indicted on 10 charges on Feb. 5, 2002. He was in a Taliban training camp and said he met bin Laden there.  Lindh said he never intended to fight against Americans, even though he stayed with the Taliban after 9-11 and knew bin Laden had planned the attacks. Lindh’s defense attorneys entered into a plea bargain in July 2002. Lindh pleaded guilty to two charges – supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony – and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. One condition of the plea deal was that he had to consent to a gag order keeping him from making any public statement. LIndh contended that he was tortured by U.S. military personnel after his capture. As part of the plea deal, he had to drop the claims of mistreatment.
  • A former Somali army colonel accused of war crimes was found guilty of torture Tuesday in Virginia, where he’s lived for decades and, up until earlier this month, worked as a driver for both Uber and Lyft.  A federal civil jury ordered Yusuf Abdi Ali, of Fairfax, to pay $500,000 to Farhan Mohamoud Tani Warfaa, who said he was tortured for four months as a teen in 1987 before being shot multiple times and left for dead. The jury unanimously found Ali guilty and awarded Warfaa, now 49, $400,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages, federal court records show.  Jurors found Ali liable for the torture Warfaa suffered but found he was not liable for the attempted killing of the teen, the verdict form shows.  “We’re thrilled that the jury came back and found that our client had in fact been tortured,” Warfaa’s attorney, Kathy Roberts, of the Center for Justice and Accountability, or CJA, told The Washington Post. “It’s a good verdict; it stands for the principle that no one above the law. Our client is very happy.” >> Read more trending news No criminal charges have ever been brought against Ali related to the his military service. Warfaa, who traveled for the trial from his home in northern Somalia, also now known as Somaliland, said in a statement through the CJA that he hopes Tuesday’s verdict can contribute to the continued healing of those who suffered at the hands of Ali, who was purportedly a high-ranking commander in former Somali President Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime.  Ali was known as Col. “Tukeh,” or “Crow,” during his time in Siad Barre’s command, the Post reported.  “It has been a long journey, seeking justice for what happened to me and to my community,” Warfaa said in the statement. “Today’s verdict was a vindication not only for me, but also for many others in Somaliland who suffered under Col. Tukeh’s command.” The torture Warfaa was subjected to as a 17-year-old farmer stemmed from a missing water tanker.  “Over the course of a three-day trial, the jury heard evidence that early one morning in 1987, Mr. Warfaa was rounded up with other men from his village and taken to the military headquarters of the Fifth Brigade of the Somali National Army, where Col. Tukeh held command,” CJA attorneys said in a news release. “Mr. Warfaa testified that Col. Tukeh’s soldiers tortured and interrogated him, and that Col. Tukeh himself shot Mr. Warfaa multiple times at point blank range, leaving him for dead.  “Miraculously, he survived.” See a 2016 Canadian Broadcasting Corp. report about Yusuf Abdi Ali below. Warfaa said in his lawsuit that he survived only because the men Ali assigned as his gravediggers saw he was alive and solicited a bribe from his family to let him live.  Ali’s attorney, Joseph Peter Drennan, told reporters the jury’s split decision suggested his client was found guilty of torture simply because of his position in the Somali army.  “Yusuf Abdi Ali was held liable because he was a commander in an army that served under a regime that had a poor human rights record,” Drennan said, according to CNN. “But aside from the plaintiff's testimony, there was virtually no evidence that Ali tortured anyone.” Drennan argued that his client cannot afford to pay the damages ordered by the jury, pointing out that Ali recently lost his job as a ride-share driver. He was considering an appeal of the verdict. Watch CNN’s report below on Yusuf Abdi Ali, who drove for Uber even as his federal civil case began last week. It was CNN that sent undercover reporters earlier this month to find Ali, who was working full-time as an Uber driver even as his civil trial for Warfaa’s torture and shooting was set to begin. At the time the reporters caught a ride with Ali, he was listed as an “Uber Pro Diamond” driver who had been working for the company for 18 months.  “I do this full-time,” Ali, who worked in suburban Virginia, told the reporters, saying he preferred working weekends because “that’s where the money is.” During the car ride, which the reporters surreptitiously caught on video, Ali said applying for the job had been easy.  “They just want your background check, that's it,” Ali said. “If you apply tonight, maybe after two days, it will come, you know, everything.” Ali passed the background check despite his name turning up in documents and news accounts of his alleged war crimes that are easily found in a Google search, CNN reported. The alleged atrocities under his command have also been detailed in a documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Witnesses who participated in the CBC documentary recounted murders they allege Ali committed during his command. During the civil trial in the federal courtroom in Alexandria, former soldiers who served under Ali and witnesses in Warfaa’s village testified on the plaintiff’s behalf. Ali has denied the claims against him, the Post reported.  Watch the entire 1992 CBC documentary about Ali, Crimes Against Humanity, below. “I did nothing to anybody,” he said in a deposition, according to the newspaper. “They’re just lying.” CNN reported that, following its questions about Ali, Uber suspended his access to the app. Lyft, which he had stopped working for in September, permanently banned him from working for the company.  Uber permanently removed Ali’s access following Tuesday’s verdict, CNN said.  The news network said that background checks for both Uber and Lyft are mainly done by a third party company called Checkr, which checks for red flags in sex offender databases, federal and local court records, as well as databases used to flag suspected terrorists.  A Checkr spokesperson told CNN its background checks “rely on public criminal records that have been adjudicated in a court of law rather than unverified sources like Google search results.” “Similarly, most employers don’t request background checks that include pending civil litigation due to its subjective nature,” the spokesperson said.  The lawsuit against Ali was first filed in 2005, when Warfaa learned the former military commander was living in the area of Alexandria, Virginia. According to the complaint, Ali served as commander of the Somali army’s Fifth Brigade from 1984 to 1989 before seeking asylum in Canada in 1990, as the tide turned against dictator Siad Barre. Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, plunging the country into decades of civil war.  “Col. Tukeh fled to Canada after the Barre regime was overthrown and eventually became a permanent resident of the United States, where he has been living since 1996,” the CJA said in its background of the case.  Warfaa’s civil suit says Ali was deported from Canada in 1992 for “having committed gross human rights abuses in Somalia,” at which time he came to the U.S. When deportation proceedings were initiated against him here, he voluntarily left the country.  He returned in 1996, reportedly on a visa obtained through his Somali wife, who had become a U.S. citizen, CNN reported. Ali’s wife was found guilty in 2006 of naturalization fraud for claiming she was a refugee from the country’s Isaaq clan -- the same clan that Ali has been accused of brutalizing during the civil war.  Warfaa’s lawsuit claims he was targeted because he is a member of the Isaaq clan, members of which established an opposition force called the Somali National Movement during the war.  “The Somali National Army committed widespread human rights abuses in its violent campaign to eliminate the SNM and any perceived supporters,” the civil complaint states. “It killed and looted livestock, blew up water reservoirs, burned homes, and tortured and detained alleged SNM supporters.” Read the entire amended complaint against Yusuf Abdi Ali below. Warning: The details of the alleged acts against Farhan Warfaa may be disturbing to some readers. The court document states that when the water tanker, which had been used to provide water to Ethiopian refugees, was stolen, Ali went to Warfaa’s village, Jifo Uray, with his men and threatened to execute everyone there unless the tanker was returned.  It was a few nights later that Warfaa and others from the village were rounded up and imprisoned by Ali’s men, the lawsuit states.  CNN’s report earlier this month was not the first time the network tracked Ali down in the United States. Reporters found him in 2016 working as a security guard at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. He was fired from that job a short time after the story aired, the network said. 

The Latest News Videos